Desmond Tutu: I Will Never Worship A Homophobic God


adiposity geneva; font-size: small;”>Speaking at the launch of a United Nations campaign to promote gay rights on Friday in Cape Town, cure South Africa, Tutu said he will never worship a “homophobic God” and will rather go to hell.

The retired Archbishop is a long-standing campaigner for gay rights. He retired as Archbishop of Cape Town in 1996, but has remained the moral conscience of the nation, a BBC correspondent says.

With consensual, same-sex conduct a criminal offence in more than one-third of the world’s countries. The United Nations human rights office launched its first global public education campaign to raise awareness and respect for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality in South Africa.

This campaign focuses on the need for both legal reforms and public education to counter homophobia and transphobia.

Calling it an “unprecedented” initiative, UN’s Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commended the campaign’s core messages: “Human rights are universal and we can change attitudes for the better.”

More than 76 countries criminalize consensual same-sex relationships, according to a 2011 OHCHR report on violence and discrimination against LGBT people. Penalties range from jail sentences to execution.

Meanwhile, in many more countries discrimination in the workforce, education, health sectors and other areas of society is widespread, the UN reported.

From left: Justice Edwin Cameron of the South African Constitutional Court, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, and UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay arriving for the unveiling of the ‘Free & Equal’ campaign. Photo: Casey Crafford/OHCHR

Unveiling the new campaign, High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay stressed that such discrimination – sometimes leading to physical assault, sexual violence and targeted killings – is a violation of basic human rights.

“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights promises a world in which everyone is born free and equal in dignity and rights – no exceptions, no one left behind. Yet it’s still a hollow promise for many millions of LGBT people forced to confront hatred, intolerance, violence and discrimination on a daily basis.”

He said, despite sex-same relationships being legal in South Africa, it had some of the worst cases of homophobic violence,

“Same-sex relationships are illegal in more than a third of countries around the world and punishable by death in five,” Ms Pillay said.

In Africa, homosexual acts are still a crime in 38 countries, according to the rights group Amnesty International.

At the launch of the Free and Equal campaign, Archbishop Tutu said: “I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place,” “I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this.”

Archbishop Tutu said the campaign against homophobia was similar to the campaign waged against racism in South Africa.

“I am as passionate about this campaign as I ever was about apartheid. For me, it is at the same level,” he added.

Ms Pillay said gay and lesbian people in South Africa had some of the best legal safeguards since apartheid ended in 1994, but they still faced brutal attacks. In June, a lesbian was found dead, having been sexually assaulted with a toilet brush.

The UN would push for gay rights to be recognized in countries where they are illegal, Ms Pillay said.

“I constantly hear governments tell me, ‘but this is our culture, our tradition and we can’t change it’… So we have lots of work to do,” she added.


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